Accessories

N is for Necklace {A-Z Challenge}

spring-summer-necklaces statement-necklaces There is nothing like a necklace to make an outfit stand out. And if you ask me, that’s my favorite piece of jewelry! I have so many different ones in my collection! But after creating these necklace boards, I got really inspired to go back to DIYs and make my own. How is this one for inspiration? DIY-necklace-inspiration I can’t wait to show you the final result. I am also starting fashion illustration, and if you want me to draw you or one of your favorite outfits from the blog, leave me a comment below! Happy Friday!

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E is for Earrings {A-Z Challenge}

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I’ll be honest with you, I rarely wear earrings. I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was 18 and in college. It had nothing to do with my parents, there was simply never an opportunity. And I didn’t really care. Then at a youth retreat, one of my friend’s mom pierced my ears. She had a gun and everything. After my first hole, I immediately wanted a second one, and my cartilage pierced as well. Glad it didn’t go that far. I mean cartilage. I do have 2 piercings in every ear though.

Due to the nature of my job (I work with kids), I don’t really wear earrings that often. But after creating these look books, I really want to make an effort and wear earrings more! Which ones are your favorites? I think the Kate Spade bows are simply adorable!

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 And don’t forget to check out the rest of my collection on Mavatar

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Spring Jewelry 2014 and A Majestical Giveaway


Jewelry will always be one of those wild favorite things for me. I like a nice statement necklace. But I like my gold too. And anything vintage – sign me up! I brought a couple of my Grandma’s pieces from Russia and I cherish them more than anything else in the world. And as some of you know my wedding bands are 1960′s vintage square rings. Do you have a special piece of jewelry that you treasure?

Spring is all about necklaces for me, and I will be honest, it’s almost always about necklaces for me. I found some amazing pieces to share with you today, that scream spring 2014 to me!

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Image via elle.com

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Image via elle.com

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Image via elle.com

jcrew-pink-stone-necklace

Image via elle.com

lulu-frost-eye-necklace

Image via elle.com

And nothing better half way through the week than a jewelry giveaway! Today I am teaming up with Majestical to bring you a couple great prizes! We are giving away this beautiful pair of earrings, that would complete every boho look

majestical-jewelry

And a $20 giftcard to Majestical.com to use towards your purchase. That you can spend on some of these:

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majestical-jewelry-statement-bib-necklace

majestical-jewelry-wave-bangle

Don’t have the patience to wait another week and want some jewelry today? Shop with the code 15DOLLARSOFF and get $15 off orders of $55 or more.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and happy Wednesday!

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Disclosure: This post is powered by BrandBacker.

How Snugg is too Snug: My story of how NOT to work with brands

Disclosure: The products in this post were sent to me by the brand in exchange for my honest opinion. 

I have somewhat recently received TheSnugg products for review. If you’ve never heard of TheSnugg, they are an online retailer that carries cases for all imaginable devices. They even have cases for my Samsung Galaxy camera (which I absolutely love). Not thinking clearly when placing my order, I asked for a MacBook Pro case. I already have my incase that I love, and to be honest my laptop is 3.5 years old, it’s missing a key, etc. So sooner or later, I am going to replace it. When I got the email confirming my order, I quickly skimmed through it, only to see another email telling me that instead of a MacBook Pro I was sent a MacBook Air case, but that it was going to fit anyways. So of course the case arrives, and of course it doesn’t fit. What followed was the long chain of emails between me and the company rep, but I am not going to post it here, to avoid embarrassing the brand. I mean the case was great, the stitching, the leather work, but the attitude was so rotten!

Images taken from TheSnugg.com

Images taken from TheSnugg.com

After a week of back and forth emails, and me offering to send the MacBook case back, because I absolutely had no use for it, they agreed to send me another product. I then went to my husband, and asked him if there was anything that he wanted. Sam quickly looked over their website and picked an orange case for his iPhone 5. He thought that orange would look really cool against the black of his phone.

Images taken from TheSnugg.com

Images taken from TheSnugg.com

The case arrived a couple days later, and there was nothing wrong with it. Fit perfectly. The one thing that Sam pointed out right away is that it’s a decoration only case, it doesn’t protect the screen, so if you drop your phone on its screen, your screen is done. And that’s one thing that bothers me about all these cases available out there. Yes, often cases are just for decoration only, they make our gadgets look like fashionable accessories. But if you are like me (aka I dropped my phone everywhere, except for the toilet!) you need more than an accessory, you need a case! A REAL case!

Would I recommend TheSnugg? They do have a couple good cases, that seem durable and worth the buck, there have recently been added new color choices, but as far as everything else – you decide.

I didn’t write this post to be mean, I wrote it because I agreed to provide an honest review. But my review has definitely been affected by the brands attitude. It’s also a lesson to me, to stop agreeing to review products that will sabotage the reputation of my blog. So as my other goal for this blog for 2014, I am going to add

Stop posting pointless reviews!

to the list!

Z

Warby Parker School Bus and Sam’s First Pair of Sunnies

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Warby Parker is in town till Spetember 1! So Sam and I took full advantage of it! And yes, it happens to be that my husband has never owned a pair of sunglasses.

I also made sure to bring my Samsung Galaxy camera with me this time (I left it at home during the launch party and was really bummed out!) The camera was an absolute hit and everyone loved the fact that I could Instagram and Tweet from it! What can I say? I love my Samsung Galaxy camera!

Disclousure: I am participating in a Verizon Wireless blogger program, and received the device and 6 months of service for free, in exchange for my honest opinion. For more information, please click on the Verizon Voices Icon!

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We had a blast trying different pairs on:

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PicMonkey Collage1

 

PicMonkey Collage2

photostrip

PicMonkey Collage3

 

So after all this fun we finally decided to get Sam a pair of  Exley sunnies!

Can’t wait to get them in the mail! And thank you Warby Parker for such a generous gift! The bus is parked in Uptown Minneapolis on Lagoon and Girard! Go visit them before September 1 comes around!

Xx,

Z

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One Flew Over Flyover Press

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Today I want to introduce Flyover Press! It’s an online store of Midwest inspired apparel and design items! Nick’s (the creator of Flyover Press and blogger at Great Lakes Prep) love for all things Midwest is so clearly seen through every single item listed in the store!

“Located in southwest Michigan underneath planes venturing cross country, Flyover Press seeks to end the coastal bias that leaves the Midwest so often ignored. By crafting made in the USA apparel and posters inspired by the people, places and traditions of America’s Heartland, Flyover Press serves as a way for Midwesterners to display their pride to the rest of the country.

We’re committed to three things, high quality American-made products, excellent customer service and providing products for the people of the regions of this country that are too often ignored. And having fun while we do it. Some of our best ideas are hatched over a couple beers with old friends. So make that four things.

We also love the Midwest and try to support it in as many ways as possible. That’s why we try to produce as many of our products in the Midwest as we can. Our shirts are printed in Indianapolis and while our posters are printed in Connecticut, they’re done by a couple who broke into the business in Chicago. As we add more products to the line we’ll continue trying to seek out Midwest sources. It might not be the least expensive way of doing things but it’s how we believe in doing business.

And that’s why we give back 3% of profits to Midwest-based non-profits. We want to support the area that raised us and we want to spread the love. That’s why we don’t have just one organization we support, but several. While we have a few organizations already selected, we’re always open to learning about the organizations you love”

How amazing is that? I thought I’d share some of my favorite items from the store with you:

North Star State Print

North Star State

 

Patriotic Midwest Tank (love the corn and the wheat logo!)

Navy Blue Patriotic Tank Product Shot

I know they are just starting, so they need all the love and support, especially from us, the midwesterners, so spread the word!

Xx,

Z

 

 

 

Introducing Anna Tail Designs

Today I want to introduce you to my friend Anna of Anna Tail Designs! She makes beautiful beaded jewelry, embroidered jewelry pieces, which include custom made and designed items as well!
Anna is originally from St.Petersburg, Russia but now lives and works in San Francisco, CA!

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A Burberry inspired bow!

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And the best part is – she is offering 20% off on all the orders in her Etsy store right now! So go ahead and check her out!
And stay tuned for an outfit featuring a unique custom made piece on my blog!
Xx,
Zhenya

Samsung Galaxy Camera Review through the Eyes of a Fashion Blogger

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Disclaimer: I am participating in a Verizon Wireless blogger program, and received the device and 6 months of service for free, in exchange for my honest opinion. For more information, please click on the Verizon Voices Icon!

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After having this camera for 3 months, I am finally ready to do a review! Let me just get one thing off my chest! I am more than grateful to Verizon for providing me with a camera! When the campaign started all we knew was that we were getting devices, but what kind? It was a mystery! Haven’t had a camera in my arsenal for over 3 years now, I kept bugging my husband to get me one. And his answer always was – use your iPhone, your iPhone has a camera, etc. But it’s so so important to a blogger to have a camera, that is just a camera, or so I thought!

When I got the hands on the Galaxy, I really didn’t expect it to do everything that it does! Yes, they make cameras these days that can do way way more than take pictures. This camera does everything but make phone calls! All thanks to the Android operating system, and the Verizon 4G LTE sim card that is included!

The android operating system and the number of apps to choose from are a definite plus. The camera is a touch screen and is very easy to operate, even for me, a devout Apple user!

A pleasant surprise was when I connected my camera to Dropbox and received another 50 GB of upload space! Dropbox is the number one method of how I upload the pictures onto my Mac. I hate the whole cord tangling/untangling, finding the cord, putting it back into the designated place, etc. So this camera makes it that much easier!

Of course I immediately wanted to purchase a tripod, fortunately my in-laws had a travel version that works really well and helps me take photos and videos when my husband is not around!

I have been carrying this camera everywhere with me: work, out on the town, even on the boat while sailing! It’s very compact and fits not only in my purses and bags, but also into my jean jacket pocket! And that’s a plus!

The battery life is definitely worth it, and the camera goes into energy saving mode when not in use, and automatically shuts off after a while!

It also talks to you! And let me tell you, there is nothing creepier than “ONE NEW EMAIL” said in a shrill female voice! It did take me a while to get used to, and I don’t think I still am ;)

There is also quiet a number of smart settings, that allow you to take different pictures in different settings. One of my ultimate favorites is the action shot! It is that great!

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I know that at the end of the day this camera won’t be the same as DSLR, but it’s better than nothing, and if you are a social media junkie like me, you will love the instant ability to upload to any site, as long as there is an app for that! Right, Nokia Lumia?

Xx,

Zhenya

 

Sewing Goodies

Disclaimer: I am participating in a Verizon Wireless blogger program, and received the device for free, in exchange for my honest opinion. For more information, please click on the Verizon Voices Icon above!

I just have to share these with you! As some of you may recall I was on Refashion Runway, and today I wanted to share what was in my awesome prize that I got from Katherine of Pillows A-La Mode! And to make it easier for everyone, I took a video with my new Nokia Lumia phone! Check it out here:

Hope you had a great weekend! Check back often for outfit, beauty, fashion, style and sewing posts!

Xo,

Z

 

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: Nokia Lumia 928

Today’s post is a review on Nokia Lumia 928, a complimentary phone and service

I received from Verizon Wireless, in exchange for my honest opinion. For more information, please click on the Verizon Voices Icon below!

As some of you may recall I travelled to Chicago back in May to meet the other Midwest Fashion and Style bloggers, and to get my first device – Samsung Galaxy camera. And maybe some of you think it’s strange to be posting about the second device before the first, but I feel like the phone is a much more essential part of our daily lives than a camera, even if it’s smart! So here it goes:

The Verizon Blogger program was originally set up like so: you get the first device in Chicago, the second devices comes in the mail 3 months later! But then they decided to send us the phone 2 months early! That was absolutely fine by me :)

So I knew I was getting the phone from the start, you see we were receiving hints through Twitter – it was almost like a scavenger hunt. And Sam was actually the one, who thought that the device might be Nokia Lumia! And it was, the new 928 model!

After reading the ArsTechnica review I was pretty excited for the Lumia! And then it came…

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As you can see, it came with this awesome wireless charger, which I absolutely love, and which came extremely handy during our move! (I will explain later!)

The phone came with an Illinois number, which was convenient, and I didn’t have to switch from my iPhone 4S. That was my biggest concern to begin with! But then I quickly became one of those people who have 2 phones! On the other hand it gave me an opportunity to talk more about my blog and the Verizon Blogger Program I am a part of!

My first impression of the phone was – OMGILOVEIT!!! Said probably a hundred times on that first night! I loved the size of the screen, the quality of the glass (gorilla glass, as I learned later during a very useful webinar!), the quality of the picture, the video quality, everything about this phone was AMAZING, or so I thought!

Then I wanted to upload my first VLOG video to YouTube, and that’s where my frustrations began – I couldn’t get the files off the Windows phone, and it refused to upload directly to YouTube. I know to some of you this is not a major concern, but I am a blogger, so let me rant ;)

Having been an Apple user since 2010, the last time I used Windows was to install a pattern making program on my husband’s PC, that died a few months ago! And the app didn’t work on my laptop. So Sam ended up updating my OS (operating system) to the latest software, which solved the problem, but cost $20!

The video quality is great though, see for yourselves:

Definitely better than the iPhone!

Here are some examples of the picture quality! I am not going to compare it to the iPhone that I currently have, or the 5, that Sam has, I am not that kind of blogger :) but I am sure there are plenty of comparisons out there!

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App wise the phone isn’t great. From what I understood, Google has some sort of an agreement with Apple, and they don’t want to let the Nokia in on the deal. Sounds like a typical problem in my classroom, only I work with 2-3 y.o., and these are big guys we are talking about here!

One of the first comments that my fellow bloggers made, as well as one of my coworkers who has Lumia 920, was – THERE IS NO INSTAGRAM! And I said it too, because that’s one of the most popular social networks for us nowadays. Facebook went all commercialized, Twitter is too fast and hard to catch up with, so Instagram is something that has a little personality left.

There is an Instagram substitute, a Nokia app called Instance, which has different filters, and is full of ads, but connects to your original Instagram account.

As you will see with this phone, there are a lot of third party apps, which seem questionable and untrustworthy. But are not as bad if you spend the time reading the reviews.

Moving on! I really want to talk about the speaker on that phone! It is truly amazing! I am a huge Pandora fan, I have my stations all picked out, I know when to hit shuffle, it all matches my moods, or helps improve productivity (I have been listening to a lot of The Avett Brothers and the like recently, maybe that’s why I’ve been kind of lazy and laid back ;) ) I also get Ads-FREE Pandora through the end of the year through this phone! Which is great, because according to my account I still live in NYC, so I get a lot of Metro PCS commercials, which are often in Spanish, go figure!

Anyways where was I? Radio! Nokia Lumia comes with Nokia Radio (I guess that’s a good name for it!) But a lot of the music is very European! I didn’t like any of the work out stations, I told you I am not very European, even though I was born and lived there for the most part of my life!

I think another feature worth mentioning is Sky Drive! I specifically asked during the webinar if it was like iCloud or DropBox, and the answer was Dropbox, and it is. But since I am already using DropBox the question is – what do I need the second one for? Well, it’s easier to get the files off the phone! That’s all!

Any other perks? I do think the Pinterest type home screen is a cute idea, plus you can customize is! So mine went from “Verizon” red to teal! That’s pretty neat!

Oh and Internet sharing! As most of you know, Sam and I bought a house! Which also lead to me starting a new blog, dedicated entirely to the house called Story and a Half of Our Life (go check it out and give it some love please! ), and since the process of moving took us a week (Sam had an alarming pain in his right side, and we spent a few VERY long hours in the ER, but he is okay now, and it was most likely a pulled muscle of some sort) we couldn’t have our Comcast Internet at the apartment and the house at the same time, so I used my Nokia to create a hot spot, and turned the Internet Sharing on! Thank you, Verizon, for providing me with the unlimited data plan! I really appreciate it!

So to sum it all up:

THE GOOD: Great design, sound, picture and video quality (for the Phone!), interesting interface, user friendly, most apps are there,

THE BAD: The software for MAC was hard to figure out, Internet Explorer search engine only, the battery doesn’t last that long if you are on it all the time.

THE UGLY: A lot of apps are not there, and you don’t know when they are coming, if at all and having to go around them sucks! Plus the constant ads in a lot of apps do get to you very quickly!  And it’s a Verizon exclusive!

THE VERDICT: Am I going to switch to Nokia after my contract is up in October? I don’t know! Probably not. It’s a hard phone to get used to, especially when you are still on your iPhone. I still reach for the old one over the new, maybe out of habit, but probably more out of familiarity and simplicity of it all!

I hope this was somewhat helpful, and I know that some of you have already told me that once your contract is up, you will be switching to this phone. But please think before you act. I know I am not really praising it, but I don’t want to bring it down either! The choice is always yours.

Xo,

Z

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